Issue 139 - September 2023
Authority Members Gather for It’s Like, Totally Risk Management at 28th Annual Risk Management Educational Forum
Nearly 500 Authority members, business partners, and staff engaged with speakers and learned from relevant and timely presentations at the California JPIA’s 28th Annual Risk Management Educational Forum themed It’s Like, Totally Risk Management, at the Omni La Costa Resort in Carlsbad from August 30 to September 1.
The Forum began on Wednesday with two opening sessions. In the first, “I Always Feel Like Somebody’s Watching Me: Cyber Incident Response,” Devon Ackerman and Sean B. Hoar walked attendees through stories and examples of digital forensics, incident response, and legal guidance from the front lines of everyday investigations and cybercrime victim response. In the second, “Danger Zone: Preparing for the Unexpected,” Michael Julian discussed steps anyone can take to respond more effectively should they ever be confronted with an active shooter situation, a violent attacker in the workplace, and other potentially deadly events.
Thursday’s programming started with the recognition of the Capstone Award finalists. The award is presented each year to an individual at a member agency who best exemplifies the practice of risk management. The 10th Annual Capstone Award was presented to Audrey Cray, finance and risk manager at the City of Pacific Grove.
Next, Olympic gold medalist Scott Hamilton shared his story’s extreme highs and lows and how to keep going even when obstacles’ shadows loom large.
Breakout sessions addressed risk management issues affecting public agencies. Members immersed themselves in legal liability, workers’ compensation, employment law, public safety, organizational thinking, governance, and legislation. A complete listing of the breakout sessions and links to presentations are available in the Forum agenda.
The Forum concluded on Friday with a presentation by Jacob Houghton on “Should I Stay or Should I Go: Increasing Team Cohesion,” where he shared how the increasingly siloed nature of teams and departments can be addressed through improved cohesion, buy-in, and a culture of belonging to achieve greater efficiency and foster future talent.
Save the date for the 29th Annual California JPIA Risk Management Educational Forum, October 9–11, 2024, at the Hyatt Regency in Indian Wells.Print Article
Sexual abuse is a serious issue affecting millions of individuals yearly, sparing no generation or demographic. To assist in abuse prevention solutions for its member agencies, the Authority has partnered with Praesidium, a sexual abuse prevention program. The fully-funded program offers abuse protection systems within agencies to help protect residents and contribute to safe communities.
Praesidium is a leader in abuse risk management. For more than 30 years, it has worked globally with thousands of organizations across industries to help them assess, prevent, and respond to sexual abuse of children and vulnerable adults.
“Praesidium’s experts have a proven track record of success, making them the ideal partner for the Authority in preventing sexual abuse,” said California JPIA Senior Risk Manager Melaina Francis. “With its unique and comprehensive suite of products, Praesidium is committed to creating a culture of safety and well-being for all.”
The partnership will include access to a variety of resources:
- Downloadable written resources, including:
- Model policies
- Screening and selection toolkit
- Crisis response toolkit
- Online training
- Access to Praesidium’s helpline
During the Authority’s 28th Annual Risk Management Educational Forum, Praesidium Director of Strategic Alliances Candace D. Collins, JD, summarized barriers to reporting, provided an overview of programming, and offered a sneak peek into the curriculum and resources now available to the Authority’s members through Praesidium.
“Our mission at Praesidium is to help protect those in your care from abuse and preserve trust in your organization,” said Collins. “Through Praesidium, Authority members have access to tools designed to create and maintain a culture of safety.”
Having analyzed thousands of cases of abuse, Praesidium built a scientifically based framework for identifying abuse risk in organizations and methods to mitigate the risk. The Praesidium Safety Equation® methodology identifies eight organizational operations that provide opportunities to decrease the risk of abuse by employees, volunteers, and other program participants.
“Praesidium’s comprehensive approach and extensive knowledge and research sets them apart from other organizations,” Francis added. “Praesidium’s Safety Equation methodology prioritizes a proactive and preventive approach to abuse management, rather than simply reacting to incidents after they occur.”
The California JPIA will host an introductory leadership workshop, “A Roadmap to Preventing Sexual Abuse in your Programs,” from 10:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m. on October 12, 2023. The in-person event on the Authority’s campus in La Palma will introduce key concepts related to abuse risk management and train participants to facilitate agency-wide conversations about how, why, and what abuse protection systems exist within their agencies.
“It is vital for agencies to understand how to effectively mitigate the risk of abuse in their organizations and create a safe environment for all,” said Francis. “Our new partnership with Praesidium represents an opportunity to share best practices and gain valuable insights from experts in the field.”
For additional information or to register, please visit the workshop website.Print Article
The California JPIA congratulates Audrey Cray, finance and risk manager for the City of Pacific Grove, who received the 10th annual Capstone Award at the California JPIA’s 28th Annual Risk Management Educational Forum in Carlsbad.
“Audrey is deserving of this award for so many reasons,” said California JPIA Senior Risk Manager Tim Karcz. “I think one of the best reasons is that she’s a very proactive risk manager. She’s very attentive. She is involved in every single operation within the city, whether it be the police department, parks and recreation, or city hall and administration.”
Cray upholds Pacific Grove’s culture of safety by initiating programs, hosting California JPIA-sponsored training sessions, and facilitating city-wide safety meetings. She also shares information about organization-wide training goals and provides quarterly reports to the Pacific Grove City Council on workers’ compensation information, including claim statistics and safety program efforts.
“I think one of the more innovative projects that Audrey spearheaded was the Safety Incentive Program,” said Karcz. “It’s a very employee-focused program, one that rewards and incentivizes safety performance and being involved in worker safety in general.”
The Safety Incentive Program requires departments to participate in basic safety activities and rewards employees who go above and beyond the standard requirements.
“Audrey has done fabulous work on the city’s Safety Incentive Program,” said Pacific Grove Administrative Services Director and Interim City Manager Victoria Hannah. “Audrey jumped right in. She has the personality to really bring people together.”
The Capstone Award is presented annually to an individual at a member agency who exemplifies the practice of risk management by supporting risk management efforts, coordinating risk management goals and programs, and mitigating risk exposures for their agency.
The 2023 finalists also included:
- Alexa Davis, Assistant City Manager, City of Rolling Hills Estates
- Heather Reiter, Training and Safety Specialist, Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District
- Linda Reid, City Clerk / Human Resources Director, City of Buellton
- Raylette Felton, Deputy City Manager / Human Resources and Risk Manager, City of Lawndale
“I would like to thank the California JPIA for this esteemed award,” said Cray. “Being nominated alongside such amazing risk managers was an honor in itself, and to have won is a deeply meaningful milestone in my professional journey.”
To learn more about the Capstone Award and view the finalist videos, visit the award webpage.Print Article
The second week of October is Code Enforcement Officer Week. The week is meant to highlight the vital role code enforcement officers play in the health and welfare of our communities, and it’s an opportune time to remind members about the “Code Official Safety Special (COSS)” training program. This program is offered at no cost to member staff and is available through an agreement with the Code Enforcement Officer Safety Foundation. This training is available for member code enforcement officers and others in non-sworn enforcement positions like building inspectors and officials, animal control officers, community service officers, and more. It provides a designation upon completion and earns International Code Council and state continuing education units (CEUs.) The COSS training program is fifteen hours of progressive virtual learning on five subjects, including The Tactical Mindset, Fear Management, Verbal De-escalation, Three Phases of Contact, and Surviving a Violent Encounter. The program is the code enforcement industry’s only international officer safety training. Each class comes with a downloadable PDF workbook.
A link to register for the COSS training may be found here.
For further information about this training or how to register, please contact the training division.Print Article
The California JPIA hosted its 15th Annual Workers’ Compensation Symposium on Wednesday, September 6. The event was attended by representatives from Authority member agencies, the workers’ compensation claims team at Athens Administrators, and many of the Authority’s panel attorneys. As in prior years, attendees learned about topics relevant to their agencies’ workers’ compensation programs.
The symposium began with a presentation from Client Engagement Manager Tammy Daniels with Safety National, the Authority’s longtime reinsurance partner. Tammy provided a detailed overview of the various reasons for medical inflation in the workers’ compensation system. Henslee Smith, a subrogation attorney with more than four decades of experience, provided a detailed recap of a complex claim he handled and many of the lessons learned. Alicea Reddy is the administrative director for First Responder Support Network (FRSN), a group that provides weeklong mental health retreats for public safety officers. Alicea’s background as a police officer has enabled her to share great insight into FRSN’s services and how they can benefit those they serve. Tim Rose is a partner with Siegel, Moreno & Stettler. He shared several strategies that claims administrators can utilize to deal with conflicting medical reports.
After a lunch break, attendees heard from a panel from Athens. Bill Larkin, Chrisi Salazar, and Schaunna McEachron offered our members insight into what’s involved in handling a claims desk. They adeptly addressed some of the challenges of the job and the ways our members can help them as they work to represent the Authority.
If you have any topics you would like to be considered for next year’s Symposium, please contact Jeff Rush, workers’ compensation program manager.Print Article
Every city, county, and public agency in California should be prepared to respond to an earthquake. The Great California ShakeOut event is held each year on the third Thursday of October. This year’s ShakeOut, October 19, is an appropriate time to review your agency’s earthquake preparedness plan and to schedule a drill to practice Drop, Cover, and Hold On. Additionally, it’s an opportune time for the Authority to share information about the Safehub resource.
The California JPIA is working with San Francisco-based Safehub to provide real-time building-specific damage information to members. Safehub sensors have already been deployed to 65 Authority member agencies. We are currently rolling out the third installment of the program to 12 members. The Authority fully funds the program, and there are no direct costs to members.
Safehub employs a combination of sensors, analytics, and third-party data to provide structural damage information within minutes following an earthquake. The easy-to-install sensors measure earthquake ground motion, building response, and changes in building natural frequencies, which can indicate damage. Sensors are about the size of a mobile phone and have a battery backup. For most buildings, the unit is installed on the ground floor next to an outlet and generally out of the way. Sensors are simple to install and plug in and come with an easy-to-follow installation manual. They use very little power and do not require connection to your agency’s network or Wi-Fi as they are connected to the cloud through a cellular network. The sensors have a three-to-five-year life expectancy and are monitored by Safehub 24/7 to ensure they work correctly.
Safehub’s platform analyzes the data and deploys actionable information through a web-based dashboard, text messages, and email alerts. For example, following a 4.5 earthquake, the text may read, “No damage expected.” The information generated is used to estimate damage to individual buildings and portfolios. The results are fewer false positives and negatives, allowing communities to continue providing services when needed most.
Alerts and information presented on Safehub’s dashboard can help prioritize emergency response, assist building inspectors and engineers, help with claim filing, and assist with activating business continuity plans and resilience efforts. In addition, the Safehub technology features a simulation mode for training and drill purposes.
Never before have communities had this level of information at their fingertips, allowing them to assess damage resulting from catastrophic events quickly. This cost-effective solution is easy to install across an entire portfolio of buildings and dramatically reduces the risk from seismic events.
To learn more about Safehub, visit www.safehub.io.
Drop, Cover, and Hold On
When an earthquake strikes, the following procedures are recommended to reduce your chance of injury:
DROP where you are onto your hands and knees.
COVER your head and neck.
If a sturdy table or desk is nearby, crawl underneath it for shelter.
If a furniture item is unavailable, crawl next to an interior wall away from windows, stay on your knees, and cover your head and neck.
HOLD ON until the shaking stops.
If you are under a table or desk, hold on to a furniture leg with one hand and use your other arm to cover your head and neck.
If you are next to an interior wall, stay on your knees and use both arms and hands to protect your head and neck.
This is also the time to review and evaluate work areas to confirm that bookcases and cabinets are secured to walls, items stored on top of cabinets are removed and stored correctly, and chemicals are stored in secured cabinets. Additionally, check your earthquake supplies. Discard expired items, replace them accordingly, and confirm that staff knows the location(s) of the earthquake supplies.
After the drill, update your emergency preparedness plan and procedures based on lessons learned from the ShakeOut exercise. Review the updated plans and procedures with all staff.
Practice, practice, practice! Practicing reinforces the behavior. You will be more likely to react quickly when the shaking begins if you regularly practice protecting yourself. Although California holds an annual Great ShakeOut event, practicing drills throughout the year is beneficial to reinforce responsive and safe behavior in an emergency.
New 9th Circuit Ruling in Johnson v. City of Grants Pass Affects Enforcement of Public Camping Ordinances
By Civica Law
Originally published on August 9, 2023. Reprinted with permission from Civica Law.
Homeless encampments are a pervasive and growing issue affecting communities across the United States. Following the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling in Martin v. City of Boise that prohibited cities from criminally enforcing local public camping ordinances absent an alternative place to sleep, some public agencies looked to other means to enforce such ordinances and otherwise regulate public camping issues. Some approaches focused on administrative enforcement through fines, or regulating camping paraphernalia, such as pillows and blankets.
Johnson v. City of Grants Pass is the 9th Circuit’s newest ruling on local enforcement of homeless camping and expands Boise to include administrative enforcement, regulation of certain sleeping items, and camping in vehicles. This ruling further limits what and how cities can enforce local ordinances pertaining to homelessness. Cities will need to update their ordinances and procedures for enforcement.
In September 2018, a three-judge panel issued Martin v. City of Boise, 920 F.3d 584 (9th Cir. 2018), holding that “the Eighth Amendment prohibits the imposition of criminal penalties for sitting, sleeping, or lying outside on public property for homelessness individuals who cannot obtain shelter.” However, Martin also established that a city is not required to “provide sufficient shelter for the homeless, or allow anyone who wishes to sit, lie, or sleep on the streets, at any time and at any place. Further, Martin established that the government cannot prosecute homeless people for sleeping in public if there is a “greater number of homeless individuals in [a jurisdiction] than the number of available shelter spaces; shelters with a “mandatory religious focus” could not be counted as available due to potential violations of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause.
In Grants Pass, three homeless individuals filed a class action lawsuit against the City of Grants Pass challenging the constitutionality of the city’s enforcement of their public camping ordinance through civil (administrative) fines, as well as the city’s prohibition on certain sleeping accessories for people camping in public. The city’s ordinance criminalized repeated violations after administrative fines were issued, and prohibited the use of certain sleeping accessories, such as blankets and pillows.
The trial court judge agreed with the plaintiffs, finding parts of the city’s ordinances unconstitutional in light of Martin, and issued an injunction prohibiting the city from enforcement. The court determined that although Martin only involved criminal prosecution, administrative enforcement that ultimately could result in criminal enforcement also violates the 8th Amendment and that certain basic sleeping elements were within the protection of the Martin case.
On appeal, the 9th Circuit upheld the lower court’s ruling, expanding Martin to cover not only criminal enforcement of ordinances concerning sleeping in public, but also administrative enforcement that could result in criminal enforcement, and redefining the term “sleeping” to include rudimentary forms of protection from the elements, as well as overnight sleeping in vehicles.
- The ruling in Martin set the stage for this litigation.
- Administrative enforcement of ordinances that could result in criminal enforcement violates the 8th
- Local agencies must treat “rudimentary protection against the elements,” equivalent to “sleeping,” for purposes of Martin. However, the term is not clearly defined.
- Individuals are involuntarily homeless when they do not have adequate access to shelters, and those shelters must be “reasonably available”, which includes non-religious in nature, although the other parameters of “reasonably available” are not defined.
- Local agencies may be subject to class action suits for laws that disproportionately impact homeless individuals.
- The extent and scope of “rudimentary protection against the elements” is under review by the trial court, and that definition may be the subject of a later appeal.
- Grants Pass does not affect a local agency’s ability to enforce health and safety measures.
- Administrative enforcement now will be treated the same as criminal enforcement under Martin, and other enforcement tools, including civil enforcement, likely will follow.
Civica Law Group, APC, is a municipal law firm specializing in code enforcement, public agency litigation, and municipal law. The attorneys at Civica Law regularly assist cities, counties, and special districts in enforcing local and State laws. With the current state of enforcing camping ordinances in flux, it is vital for public agencies to stay up to date with the law and update their ordinances and policies accordingly to maximize compliance and minimize liability risk.
Disclaimer: Civica Law Group, APC legal alerts are not intended as legal advice. Additional facts or future developments may affect the subject of this alert. Seek the advice of an attorney before acting or relying upon any information in this alert.
 See Id at 617.
 See Id.
 See Id at 609-10 (Citing Inouye v. Kemna, 504 F3d 705, 712-13 (9th Cir. 2007).Print Article